close
close

Wegovy, an injectable medication used to treat obesity, will now be available in Canada. Here’s what you should know about the drug.

“The 360” shows you diverse perspectives on the day’s top stories and debates.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity or making changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Wegovy will finally be available in Canada.  (wizard via Getty Images)Wegovy will finally be available in Canada.  (wizard via Getty Images)

Wegovy will finally be available in Canada. (wizard via Getty Images)

Wegovy, an injectable weight management medication, will be available in Canada on May 6, according to its manufacturer, Noro Nordisk. The drug was approved by Health Canada in November 2021, but shortages delayed its availability in Canada.


Wegovy is a weekly injectable that was approved by Health Canada in November 2021. It contains semaglutide, a medication initially used to treat diabetes but found effective for weight loss and control. Semaglutide is a peptide similar to glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a hormone secreted in the lining of the small intestine, pancreas, and central nervous system. Among other functions, GLP-1 stimulates insulin production and has been found to be a “physiological regulator of appetite and food intake.”

Semaglutide is considered a GLP-1 agonist and causes weight loss by slowing digestion, making you feel fuller longer. Wegovy users are advised to modify their diet and exercise while taking the medication.


Wegovy is a weekly injectable weight management medication.  (Image via Getty Images) Wegovy is a weekly injectable weight management medication.  (Image via Getty Images)

Wegovy is a weekly injectable weight management medication. (Image via Getty Images)

Wegovy is a prescription medicine for people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2 or 27 kg/m2, so they have at least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia ( high cholesterol) or obstructive sleep apnea.

According to Health Canada, Wegovy has also been approved for use in people between 12 and 18 years old with a BMI in the 95th percentile for their age and sex.


Both Wegovy and Ozempic are weekly semaglutide injectables manufactured by Noro Nordisk.

Ozempic was approved by Health Canada in 2018 specifically as a medication for people with type 2 diabetes. Weight loss may be a byproduct of taking Ozempic, while Wegovy is a slightly higher dose of semaglutide aimed specifically at overweight or obese people but who may have type 2 diabetes.


Semaglutide injectables can cause headaches.  (Image via Getty Images)Semaglutide injectables can cause headaches.  (Image via Getty Images)

Semaglutide injectables can cause headaches. (Image via Getty Images)

According to Noro Nordisk, possible side effects of Wegovy may include:

Other side effects may include low blood sugar, low blood pressure, and a change in the taste of food or drinks. The manufacturer includes an extensive guide for consumers that includes rare side effects such as tachycardia, fainting, and intestinal obstruction, to name a few.

In all cases, consumers are advised to contact a medical professional if they experience gallstones, pancreatitis, acute kidney injury, and a severe allergic reaction. Consumers with diabetes are advised to beware of very low blood sugar levels or vision complications (diabetic retinopathy).


Wegovy users are recommended to modify their diet and exercise.  (Image via Getty Images)Wegovy users are recommended to modify their diet and exercise.  (Image via Getty Images)

Wegovy users are recommended to modify their diet and exercise. (Image via Getty Images)

Nonjudgmental Treatment Options for Obesity

“In Canada, more than one in four adults over the age of 18 face the complexities of obesity, a pressing health issue. It is imperative that those living with obesity receive the support and care they deserve,” said Priti Chawla , executive director of Obesity. Matters in a press release. “It is critical to shift the conversation about obesity from blame and shame to empowerment and inclusion. Access to effective treatment options is crucial to effectively managing this disease.”

“Let’s end the guilt and shame associated with obesity and recognize that obesity is a complicated genetic medical condition and not a self-imposed personal failure,” Dr. Sean Wharton, an internal medicine physician and specialist in obesity, said in a news release. weight control. “Along with lifestyle and self-love interventions, Wegovy and similar medications will provide much-needed relief to people living with the challenges and complications of obesity.”

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Dr. Ehud Ur, a Vancouver-based endocrinologist, said doctors should exercise discretion when prescribing Wegovy. “Physicians are ultimately the gatekeepers of this and hopefully there will be responsible prescribing of medications,” Ur said.

“We want to make sure that we’re very precise, that we’re not talking about…cosmetic or physical appearance,” said Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam of Obesity Canada. The Canadian Press.

Although Noro Nordisk did not disclose how much Wegovy will cost Canadians, experts are concerned about access to the drug.

“Many in our community, and especially those at the lowest socioeconomic level, consider these treatments to be financially out of reach,” said Dr. Priti Chawla, executive director of Obesity Matters. The Canadian Press. “It is essential that we work to make Wegovy affordable and accessible to all Canadians who need it.”

Experts estimate the cost of Wegovy to be approximately $400 per month. Because the drug was created specifically to help with weight loss, it is unclear whether Canadians will pay for the drug out of pocket.

“(Insurance companies) have to specifically state whether or not they will cover this product,” said Dr. Sean Wharton, a Toronto-based internal medicine specialist.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us Twitter and instagram.